Belgium took over the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for one month on 1 February 2020 with the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union a central focus. Security Council President and Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, outlined the Council’s work programme and its priorities for the month at a UN Headquarters press conference on 3 February.
“A signature event on 25 February will address the strong partnership between the United Nations and the European Union,” Mr. Pecsteen de Buytswerve said, adding that Josep Borrell, the EU’s new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will address Council members, his first speech in his capacity as High Representative.
Belgium’s approach to its Security Council presidency reflects the country’s tradition of multilateralism. “As a founding member of the United Nations, Belgium has placed multilateralism at the heart of its foreign policy,” a Belgian Foreign Affairs statement said, adding that regional cooperation – like the EU – is an important vehicle for defending common and shared positions. Conflict prevention and respect for human rights are the driving forces behind our country’s commitment to the Security Council.
Another priority during Belgium’s Security Council Presidency is the issue of children in armed conflict. On 12 February, the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Goffin, will chair the briefing on ways to integrate child protection into peace processes. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will travel to New York to attend the Council briefing, where the King is expected to deliver a statement.
On 13 February, a third high-level event will focus on how transitional justice can contribute to peacebuilding, reconciliation and avoid a relapse into conflict. Speakers are expected to include Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Francisco de Roux, President of Colombia’s Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition; and Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of South Africa’s Foundation for Human Rights and Trustee of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre and Chair of the Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan.
Belgium is a non-permanent member of the Security Council from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020. In March 2020, China will take over the Security Council Presidency.
More information on the work of the UN Security Council: